Dr. René Gerónimo Favaloro was an Argentine cardiac surgeon who pioneered coronary artery bypass surgery while at the Cleveland Clinic. He was born and raised in La Plata, capital of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina to carpenter Juan B. Favaloro and Ida Y. Raffaelli, a dressmaker, both immigrants from Sicily, Italy.
Soon after completing his undergraduate degree in 1941, Favaloro was inducted into the Argentine army where he served for five years. In 1946, he left the service and continued his medical studies at La Universidad Nacional de La Plata, graduating in 1949. He would spend the next 12 years in a small farming community, La Pampa, as a rural physician. There, he educated patients about preventive medicine, established the first “mobile” blood bank in this area, and built his own operating room, where he trained general and surgical nurses. He later wrote about this period of his life in his book Memoirs of a Country Doctor.